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It’s cold in Wisconsin!

Family is forever, but it’s a good thing vacations only last for a week. We’ve been visiting my family in WI for the past week and my son has been terrorizing their house. I’m sure my parents are glad that they have their home back to normal.We had a great trip! It was Leah’s first airplane ride, but it was something like Isaiah’s ninth time. He’s a pro! Leah slept the whole way there. Isaiah wiggled a lot, but we made it.

Of course, Wisconsin was freezing. We thought we’d be all tough, since it’s only been two years since we’d lived there, but I guess we’ve gotten used to our nice California weather. We were so cold! I actually bought gloves! The upside of the cold is that it snowed while we were there! Isaiah got to go outside and play in the snow a little and he thought that was great.

Isaiah loved being at his Grandpa and Grandma’s house. Aunt Emmy played with him and Grandma helped him build tunnels for his trains, but his favorite part was Grandpa. With Isaiah, Gran and Grandma and even Mommy are nice, but Daddy and Papa and Grandpa are the best! He really likes the men in his life. Before we left he said he wanted to take Grandpa home.

My mom made all my favorite meals and we went to all my favorite restaurants, so I probably gained a bajillion pounds. Food is never as good as you remember it. And, because every day I had one of my favorites, it kind of took away the impact. A favorite once in a while is a treat, but a favorite everyday makes them all not as special. But it was still fun… because I love food!!!

We visited our favorite WI Mexican restaurant. Of course it isn’t as authentic as the amazing taquerias we have out here in Cali, but everyone who works there is Mexican, which is an important criteria in our minds! One of the ladies that works there remembered us and couldn’t believe how much weight Chris has lost. She made her husband come out and see Chris, because he wanted to lose weight but didn’t believe in diet plans. Chris is such a walking Weight Watchers advertisement!

Everywhere we went, people didn’t recognize Chris. They’d say hi to me and then look around a little and realize Chris was with me and then they would figure out who he was. The funniest was when we stopped by the Wal-Mart where Chris had been personnel manager. His old boss walked right past him and even greeted him in a generic way, thinking he was a customer. Chris’ old assistant was with us and she had to stop the boss and make him look at Chris again before he realized who he was.

It was fun to see family and friends that we haven’t seen in a couple years. Isaiah went to a Children’s Museum. And we got to shop at Buckle. Buckle is our current favorite store and we don’t have one very close to us. It’s kind of sad that we live in California and we go to Wisconsin to shop!

I had a cold when we left for WI and I still have it! Isaiah caught it half way through the trip and now Leah has it too. Leah is the saddest, because she has this little baby girl cough that would melt your heart. She was feeling really yucky yesterday and she slept a lot to try to get over it. She started smiling again last night, so I think she’s feeling a little better.

Chester is glad to be home. Poor guy, he’s been staying at the puppy hotel. He’s nice and skinny again, because he doesn’t get people scraps at the puppy hotel. He was pretty excited when he came home, but now he’s happy to go to sleep on our couch.

Isaiah is starting to tell us when he has to go potty (thank the Lord!). Today he even went in the bathroom and went potty all by himself, of his own free will. There is hope in sight! My son will not be 14 and still wearing diapers!

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San Francisco 49ers v Carolina Panthers

Home, Sweet Home

Flying home was a bit of a stressful experience.  Isaiah didn’t get a decent nap all day, so he was very difficult to deal with.  He would always decide to sit on the floor right as the flight attendant was coming through to make sure everyone was seatbelted.  They’d tell us, “He has to be in his seat and buckled!” which was very aggravating when that was exactly what we were fighting with him to do.  I sat by him on the first plane and Chris sat by him on the second.  Before we got on the second plane, I had Panda Express and Chris bought me the second book in the Princess Diaries series, so I was in a lot better mood for that flight!

Isaiah did love all the airplanes (“a’panes” as he called them).  He really enjoyed watching the ground crew get the planes ready and he loved the luggage vehicles.  He called them “Thomas” (he says ‘Omas) after Thomas the Train, because they were a couple of carts pulled by a little car, so it reminded him of a train.  He would stand by the windows and call out, “Bye ‘Omas!  Bye A’pane!” as he saw each one go by.  Still, this excitement only lasted so long and then he was bored again.  He had a long, hard day.

Finally, after many grueling hours, we landed.  I was so happy to be back in California!  When we stepped off the plain and the nice cool air of San Jose hit me, it was very refreshing.  I was really glad to see the mountains again too.  I love where we live!

Someone from church had picked Chester up from the kennel and left him in the backyard for us.  When we got home and let him in the house, he was beside himself.  He was crying and yipping and running from person to person trying to hug us and lick us and wag his tail all at once.  Poor little guy!  He didn’t calm down until I distracted him with some nice dog food.  We’ve been home a couple days now and he’s still extra lovey, like he’s making up for lost time.

My belly grew a lot in the week we were gone.  It was really funny, because everyone in AR was telling Chris how great he looks since he lost so much weight and asking how he did it and all.  Then they’d look me over to see if his wife had joined him in his healthy lifestyle.  They’d get a little mystified look on their face, like, “Well, she obviously didn’t join him in his weight loss endeavor… or could she just be pregnant?”  The last thing any expectant woman wants is everyone checking out her figure, but that’s exactly what I got all week !

I think Isaiah had started to transition to Arkansas time right before we left, because this morning he woke up at 6:45 (8:45 AR time).  I made him stay in bed until 7:30, but I hope he gets his schedule worked out, because that’s way too early for him to get up!

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All Good Things Must Come to an End

It’s our last full day of vacation in Arkansas.  Tomorrow we’ll be flying back to Cali.  It’ll be really good to get back home to our church, our puppy, and our routine.  Even though vacation is fun, it really is more tiring than being at home.  Plus, I think we’ll be glad to stop eating out so much.  We’ve seriously eaten at a restaurant once or twice a day!

For those that don’t know, Chris’ hometown is the “birthplace of President Bill Clinton.”  We went to a little museum the town has, which the locals say, “isn’t all about Clinton… there’s some railroad stuff too.”  It’s amazing that most of us have forgotten the unpleasant memories of having Clinton in office, but he lives on as President in Hope, AR.  I heard Clinton’s name and saw his picture more this week, than I ever want to again in my life.  I even heard one lady say, “Now, I think he’s just the handsomest man that ever lived!”  It’s like he’s the local Elvis!  I even walked into a restroom that had a life size cardboard cut-out of Hilary standing in the handicapped stall… that was a little unnerving.

Isaiah is still having the time of his life!  His Papa built him a slip-n-slide that went down a small hill in the yard.  He never really got the hang of it, so Chris had to push him down each time, but he really enjoyed it.  He’s been getting rides on every “chacher” (tractor) someone will take him on.  We have to wait until evening to let him play outside, though, because these last three days have been the hottest.  I really think you could get heat stroke or something very easily!

I haven’t experimented with any crazy southern food this trip.  I was offered fried frog-legs, but there is no way I could ever eat those.  Fried okra and hush-puppies were about as southern as I got, but I already knew I liked both of those, so it wasn’t a stretch.  We got bottles of “Willie Nelson Spring Water” at a gas station, which I thought was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen!

If you want to see more pictures from our trip, click here.

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Down South

This week we are on vacation in Arkansas, visiting my husband’s family.  Yes, I’m eating fried okra, going to Cracker Barrel and drinking sweet tea.  It is as hot as I expected it to be, but the thing that I really can’t get used to is the air conditioning.  It’s melting hot outside and freezing cold inside… no middle ground at all.  It’s supposed to be 99 degrees the day we are having a cookout, but at least that will be in the evening, so it may cool down a little by the time we are outside.

Isaiah’s Papa and Gran have donkeys, turtles, fish and a puppy.  And there are cows and horses in pastures along the roads, so Isaiah is getting to see lots of animals, which he loves.  I think he thinks the donkeys are just big puppies.  He ran up to them and started petting their faces, so we have to watch that he doesn’t get bit accidentally.  He sat on one for a couple minutes too.  He calls their dog, “Checher,” and we have to remind him that his name is Lucky.

Even more than the animals, Isaiah loves all the trucks and tractors that he sees!  He calls them all cars, but he gets really excited when he sees heavy machinery.  His Papa took him for rides on his tractor and four-wheeler (a “quad” for everyone in CA).  Isaiah also has one of those little, red, plastic push-cars with a yellow roof that he absolutely loves.

Isaiah had fun trying out a new nursery on Wednesday night.  He’s such a church baby that he walked right in and started playing and never even looked to see if I was still there.  He’s such a good, adaptable kid!

Chris was playing with the baby the other night.  The baby would kick his hand and Chris would poke my belly in the spot.  The baby would kick back and Chris would poke it again.  They kept it up for quite a bit!

We are having a good time with everyone.  Chris has gotten to visit a lot of old friends and this weekend is a family reunion, so I’ll see some family that I haven’t met yet.  If you want to see pictures of us in Arkansas click here.

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Vacation Is Coming!

On Monday our family leaves for vacation in Arkansas!  We are excited to see Chris’ family again and also get a little rest.  I’m not so excited about the fact that it’s in the 90’s in Arkansas right now.  I’m spoiled by my year round median temperature of 68 degrees here.  In fact, if you go 30 minutes north or south of where we live, it gets 10 to 20 degrees hotter and I start to melt!  So I don’t know what I’m going to do with temperatures in the 90’s.  Stay near the air conditioner, I guess!

I’ve been madly cleaning and doing laundry in preparation for our trip.  You know you don’t clean enough, when your dog follows you around while you dust, looking at you like you’ve lost your mind.  It’s very eye-opening, when you see yourself through the eyes of your children and pets.

I went to the doctor today and everything looks good.  No exciting news, but my next appointment isn’t until the end of June and that’s the one where we’ll schedule my ultrasound.  Chris is already busting at the seams to find out what the baby is, so I’m not sure he can wait that long.

Isaiah and Chester have been playing outside almost nonstop these past couple weeks.  Isaiah will say to Chester, “Com’on.  Lets g’ outside!”  Sometimes Isaiah isn’t a good influence on Chester.  I’ve caught him helping Chester dig holes in the backyard.

One day Isaiah found a loose board in the fence.  He pulled it back so he could look into the neighbors yard and of course Chester was over there in an instant.  When I found them, Isaiah was peering through the fence saying in the calmest little voice, “Decher… Decher…”  Of course I freaked out and had to ask the neighbors if I could come into their backyard and get my runaway animal, which I found embarrassing.

We blocked up the loose board and everything was fine for a week, until Isaiah decided he wanted to unblock it to check out what the neighbors were up to.  We had a repeat of the above story, but this time Chris took more permanent measures with the fence.  He got out his drill and screws to fasten the board down.  Isaiah handed him a handful of screws and said, “I help!”  So his cuteness got him out of trouble again.  I can’t say the same for the dog.

I have the sweetest husband.  I don’t talk about him in my blog as much as some members of my family, but it’s only because he doesn’t talk in adorable baby talk (if he did, we’d be worried) or have hilarious antics on a daily basis.  But he really is the most amazing person in my life!  He is my best friend and I couldn’t live with out him.  And last night he gave me the sweetest compliment!  I can’t tell you because it’s our secret, but he totally made my night.  And that’s why I have the sweetest husband!

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WI visits CA

My family was just visiting us from WI this past week.  I haven’t seen them in about a year, so it was good to have them around.  Isaiah was happy to have the extra attention and Chester had more people to play with, so everyone had a good time!

We took them to Monterey to see the ocean at the beginning of their trip.  The water was beautiful!  I have a picture of me and my sister in front of the sea.  My mom had a lot of fun picking up little bits of shell and rock from the beach (which she ended up leaving at my house).

Unfortunately when my family first got to CA, Isaiah had a nasty cold.  He apparently gave it to my family and everyone, but my dad, spent most of the week laying on the couch moaning.

On Friday, everyone (but Chris) felt well enough to attempt a little sightseeing.  We decided to drive down Hwy 1, which goes along the coast, to visit Big Sur State Park.

The coast was beautiful!  Hwy 1 has lots of little pull offs where you can take photos.  The water was bluer than blue and the coast was rugged and majestic!  My family got lots of great pictures.

We had wanted to go to Big Sur to see redwoods and it was supposed to have a waterfall.  I assumed we could just drive through and see the scenery.  Turns out all the roads were for “authorized vehicles only.”  To go see the falls, we would have had to hike .1 mile, except that a tree had fallen across the path and we had to take the alternate route.  They claimed this would make it .6 miles, but somehow it was the longest .6 miles.  Everyone was still a little under the weather and the trail was uphill almost the whole way.  By the time we got to the falls, we were all tired and out of breath.  We were hoping for a gushing torrent, but it was 3 steady streams coming over the top, hardly worth our exertion!

At least the redwoods at Big Sur were beautiful!  They had one tree trunk that they claimed was 700 years old.  The redwoods were all at the bottom of the mountain, before our big hike.  Too bad we didn’t just stop with admiring them; we would have been a lot less tired!

The next day everyone was back to being sick again, so maybe our little excursion was too taxing.  No one really felt better for the rest of their trip, so we didn’t get to take them to San Francisco.  I guess we’ll have to save that for their next trip out!

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San Francisco

Yesterday we took Paul and Luke to San Francisco.  This was our first time being the tour guides instead of being the guided ones.  We took them to Golden Gate Bridge and then we all rode the trolley.  We attempted to eat at the Cheesecake Factory in Macy’s, but they told us it would have been a 25 to 40 minute wait.  By that time we were all so hungry that we just stopped at the nearest corner pizzaria and ate there instead.  After our quick dinner, we all did some shopping.  The guys got some stuff, but Chris and I were good and didn’t buy a thing (except a lot of Starbucks).  No matter what city you go to, the clearance racks all start to look the same after a while.

Isaiah came with us and he did amazing!  He slept in the car on the way up and then stayed awake for the rest of the day.  By the Golden Gate bridge there were tons of people walking their dogs and Isaiah was in “buppy” heaven.  He also loved riding the trolley up and down the hills.  He only got a little frustrated at the end of the night when we were shopping, because he was just so tired.

Every time we go to San Francisco, I love it more.  It is a beautiful, amazing city.  I love the architecture, with all the narrow houses sandwiched together.  It’s so neat when you are on a street at the top of a hill and you can look half way down the city into the bay at the bottom of the hill(s).  We’re blessed to live so near the city so we can enjoy it.

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Me, Chris, Gran, Isaiah, Papa & Phillip

We went to visit Chris’ Granny in Texas for Thanksgiving!  It was a surprise for her.  Chris’ parents and brother went into the house and everyone got all sat down.  We waited a bit and then we quietly opened the door and sent Isaiah in.  When Granny saw him, she just started crying.  She told us that she didn’t know if she was seeing things at first.  It was also the first time Chris’ Pa-Paw (Grandpa) saw Isaiah.  It was fun to be able to give them so much joy!

We were in Texas from Thursday through Monday.  On Saturday we had a family reunion.  I met a lot of Chris’ extended family.  Isaiah had fun playing in the closet the chairs were kept in… don’t ask me why.  He also got to hang with his Uncle Phillip, which he really enjoyed!

Isaiah has a special place in his heart for his Papa!  He has ever since he was little and I think it all started with his voice.  Chris’ dad sounds a lot like Chris and I think that instantly put Isaiah at ease when he was small (Since Daddy is pretty much his favorite person in the world).  Somehow it’s carried over and he still runs to Papa first.  It also might have something to do with the fact that all Isaiah has to do is hold up his arms and Papa will do whatever he wants!  Every little kid’s dream come true.

When we flew out on Thanksgiving day, the airports were like a ghost town, but today they were insane!  The line for the security check was so long it started outside the airport doors.  But it moved fairly quickly and we had plenty of time.  Both departing and returning we had a direct flight, which was amazing!  I’ve never had that before and it really cut down on the stress… which was good, because flying with an almost 2-year old is very stressful.  On the way to Texas (a 3 1/2 hour flight) he slept for about 20 minutes!  It was insane.  Thankfully he slept for a couple hours on the way home, so it wasn’t too bad today.

We had left poor Chester at the kennel while we were away.  He was very glad to see us!  When we got home tonight, he would re-greet us every time he came back in from being outside.  But he has also seemed sad all evening, like his feelings are a little hurt.  Poor thing… I missed my baby dog a lot!

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